Eye on 'Idol': For Antonella, mum's the word

Hunter Hauk
The Dallas Morning News (MCT)

Picture it: My cubicle, Thursday evening. I stare at a television, waiting to find out which four "American Idol" contestants will go home. The air feels oppressive, weighed down with things left unsaid. It has to do with a girl, see. A girl named Antonella.

You couldn't get on the Internets in the last week without being bombarded by Antonella Barba's racy photos, leaked by a so-called friend of hers. We all expected "Idol," or at least the alleged tart herself, to address this betrayal before her performance Wednesday night. The ability to embrace its own scandals is something we've come to expect from the show.

But nothing was said about the photo fiasco. Antonella performed a particularly horrid version of "Because You Loved Me," and that was it. If she were smart, she might have played up her new, sexually-charged image and done "Dirrty" or "I Want Candy." She's not smart, though, and as I wait, my heart swells with hope that she'll be sent packing.

And I hope Sanjaya Malakar goes with her. His performance of "Steppin' Out" was nothing short of a beating. He's a master at energy suckage. The radio station in my private hell would play only him and Antonella. And maybe a little Kellie Pickler.

The ear-splitting sound of Pickler's voice suddenly pulls me out of my thoughts. She's back on the "Idol" stage to sing her new country schlock hit.

I press "mute" and continue processing the week's performances.

Gina Glocksen and Chris Sligh slipped up by failing to out-sing past winners Carrie Underwood and Taylor Hicks on Heart's "Alone" and Ray Lamontagne's "Trouble." Alaina Alexander, Leslie Hunt, AJ Tabaldo and Haley Scarnato picked tunes that, to steal a Simonism, "ate them up." Jared Cotter and Nick Pedro, I can't even remember. Jordin Sparks, Sabrina Sloan, Phil Stacey and Brandon Rogers fell into the "solid-but-boring "category.

If forced to choose a Top 3 today, "Idol" couldn't go wrong by giving Lakisha Jones, Melinda Doolittle and Stephanie Edwards an automatic pass. They are consummate professionals who "take it there" on every song. A showdown with those three could be named Divas Live `07.

A few of the guys might throw a kink in that plan, though. Funky white boys Blake Lewis and Chris Richardson continued to dominate with "Virtual Insanity" and "Geek in the Pink," respectively. And you've gotta give it to Sundance Head for pulling himself out of a deep ditch to bring bluesy back.

Ah, Seacrest is finally starting to shatter dreams. Who's heading back into obscurity? Nick Pedro, A.J. Tabaldo, Alaina Alexander, and Lesley Hunt.

Another week of Antonella and Sanjaya. It's a cruel world.

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